Saturday, November 21, 2015

Take a biz trip to the max with some "me" time

If you know me, you know that I love to travel. You’ll also know that since I left my job where I traveled a ton, I haven’t been on many trips for work. So, when I had the opportunity to pick a conference to attend, I made sure to CRUSH IT.

I found a great marketing conference in a great location (Miami Beach) when it’s typically cold in the CLE, at an amazing, newly renovated hotel (Fontainebleau). And I even got accepted as a speaker, which erased all guilt of enjoying the beach when I could. Even better, two former colleagues and friends traveled with me!

Some trips are packed to the gills, but when I can afford the time, here are my tips for taking any biz trip to the max.

Plan your meals
A former colleague who also attended the conference made us dinner plans for our first night in Miami Beach before she even booked her flight. While I wouldn’t recommend putting plans in place in that exact order, it was great to have reservations. We ate our weight in sushi at Nobu (which just relocated next to the Fontainebleau the day before we went) and Katsuya.

Be the best version of your healthiest self
Sometimes gorging on a fantastic meal prevents this, but these days I am all about restoring myself while traveling: eating well, sleeping well and working out. We were lucky enough to have beach workouts scheduled during a couple of mornings during the conference. Loved them!

Squeeze in a manipedi
The resort was pretty contained and had a spa with a great rate on a manipedi so I booked it, but usually I just find a walk-in nearby my hotel. I always feel a bit more put together once my nail and toes are done.

Extend your trip pre or post
Luckily, I had some extra time the first day the conference started to enjoy the beach. When time and business permits, I try to book a trip near the weekend to make it easier to stay an extra day to see the sights and fit in a meal at a spot I want to try.

My all-time favorite extension of a work trip was when I went to London in 2008 and extended my trip to take the new Chunnel and stay in Paris. That trip actually inspired me to blog my first post.

What’s been your favorite biz trip extension?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Since it had been 5 years, I went to see the POTUS on his bday

Just like me, the city is home improving
Man! A habit has obviously been forming. Charlotte is down to an annual trip vs. a few times a year. D.C. -- a place I visited annually for years -- has not seen my face since 2010 when I was secretly pregs with D. No wonder I keep randomly thinking about cherry blossoms.

This visit was a quick biz trip and I was fortunate enough to spend time near the Smithsonian and in Logan Circle, an up-and-coming historic neighborhood. Nail Saloon (trendy nail spa with the best light fixtures I've ever seen), Donovan House (renovated Kimpton hotel with a fun rooftop pool & bar) and the seasonal small plates restaurant Lincoln (bacon-infused bourbon!) were great spots in Logan Circle.

Rooftop pool bar view at Donovan House
Although I could have spent days visiting my favorite museums, I focused on the Freer Gallery of Art, one of my all-time favorite museums, known for its harmonizing collection of American and Asian art by a Detroit collector. There was an interesting exhibit on display that dove into all of the dirt between Whistler and a collector (not Freer) about the Peacock Room, an over-the-top dining room and living work of art, which was shipped to America in something like 27 crates. Although I've visited the museum many times, today I learned a bit more about Freer himself, who grew up with modest means, and the artists he commissioned. Fascinating as to how he created enough wealth in order to retire at 45 and then travel to collect enough art to partner with Teddy Roosevelt to build and establish the first art museum as part of the Smithsonian. Give me that life!

Hoping that I make it back to D.C. before I am schlepping my children there on a Spring Break years from now to help them appreciate our nation's history. :)

Lake Norman revival + hot yoga

Well hello there! It's been a while. I haven't been on a legit trip in over a year in my new job, which is a far cry from the travel I did on the reg during my last gig. But, with starting a new job and moving twice in the past year, I think it's been a blessing since our family has been craving stability.

So, just like last year, we kept our family vacay chill and spent some time with friends at Lake Norman near Charlotte. It's been surprising to me the frequency of endearing sighs of familiarity I've encountered when mentioning our trip. Seems like lots of folks love that lake.

Our days were spent rotating between the pool and the lake, and I finally broke down and tried hot yoga. I didn't hate it, but I also think I would do just fine with intensive yoga and no extra heat thank you very much.

Certainly didn't turn down the extra help with the kiddos for a day date spent getting couples massages. Phil and I fell asleep not only during the massage but also in the waiting room beforehand. Haa!

A couple more trips planned this year, so I won't be totally dark. Till then...